That copy of The Da Vinci Code? Not mine.

My latest obsession: Shelfari. I’m slowly inputting my collection. The best part is how it shows you how many other people have the same books as you, and lets you browse their collections (or even chat with them) for recommendations. I told my brother about it too, and he’s got a shelf or two of his own.

Hat tip: Duarte.


I’ve finally finished watching loudQUIETloud (imdb | rotten tomatoes) after squeezing bits of it into many lunch hours. It was great to see that even bands who have as massive an impact on music as The Pixies did are made up of screwy individuals. David Lovering and his metal detector? Frank Black and his self-help tapes? Joey Santiago not recognizing his own baby? Kim Deal…full stop? Awesome, all of it; it reminded me that dorky people can be influential too.

By the way, I swear I have a different favourite Pixies song every day, depending on which one I heard last. Today it’s “Caribou”.


Google Reader has added user stats, which is piles o’ fun for a geek like me. Apparently in the last 30 days I’ve read 11,672 news items, or 389 a day. That’s probably a bit less than I’d usually do as there were a few days over the holidays when I didn’t read any, and just had to blow the items away. 400 a day sounds about right. I don’t read all of those, obviously; I skim the headlines and mark the ones I want to read.

[EDIT] That 400 doesn’t include the 300 or so I read for work each day.
[tags]shelfari, loudquietloud, pixies, google reader[/tags]


I’ve listened to “Intervention” by the Arcade Fire a dozen times in the past few weeks. I could listen a dozen more. Can the rest of Neon Bible be that good?

God help us if it is.

[UPDATE] “Black Mirror”, another song from Neon Bible, is damn good; while not quite as good as “Intervention”, it makes the score 2 for 2. Hear it for yourself.
[tags]arcade fire, neon bible[/tags]

Winter my licious

I’ve noticed a spike in the amount of junk mail arriving in my (paper) mail box over the past week or so. It seems to be mainly flyers for two things: gyms and junk food.

The eternal struggle continues.


We made our winterlicious picks today: 1055, Canoe and Savoy with T-Bone, and Jump with another friend. We start the night I get back from my stats course and end shortly before Nellie’s birthday dinner. It’ll be a fortnight of decadence, without a doubt.


This movie looks horribly inappropriate. I can’t wait to see it. Super bonus points for using a Black Keys song.

Any bets on the Oscar for best song going to “It’s Hard Out Here For A Nympho”?

[tags]junk mail, gyms, junk food, winterlicious, black snake moan[/tags]

Please, please, please don't play Standin' On Top Of The World…

Back in November I was worried that the rock and roll hall of fame would induct a bunch of (in my opinion) questionable bands. It may still happen, but not this year.

“Van Halen, R.E.M. and Patti Smith will be inducted into Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the hall announced on Monday. Also to be inducted in a ceremony in March are Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the first rap act ever to make the cut, and 1960s girl group the Ronettes.”

[from the CBC]

[tags]rock and roll hall of fame, van halen, rem, patti smith, grandmaster flash, patti smith[/tags]

The power of suggestion

My wife often falls prey to “impulse” displays at checkout counters, and usually gets cravings for whatever food commercial just aired on TV (even for food she doesn’t normally like). I suppose this makes her normal; advertisers wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a market for it.

I’m not affected by ads, but music gets me every time. If I hear a good song in a movie, or see the title written somewhere, I’m on a mission to listen to that song as soon as possible. For example, in a recent Gaping Void post Hugh talked about “Sister Ray” by The Velvet Underground. Within 30 seconds I’d pulled out my Nomad, found the song and cranked up the volume.

Of course, the problem with “Sister Ray” is that I’m tired of the song by the sixth minute, and I still have eleven to go. The other problem is that “Sister Ray” reminds me of the movie Brick, which I’ll now have to go buy on DVD. Dammit.

[tags]impulse buying, gaping void, velvet underground, sister ray, brick[/tags]

"Because of this, she is not a real Seeing Eye bitch, and is also mentally deranged."

The Onion A.V. Club sums up what’s wrong with 21st century game shows:

There’s something about Deal Or No Deal that’s more insidious than its molasses-pace and spotlit emptiness. Like 1 Vs. 100—like our culture, increasingly—it neither encourages nor rewards actual intelligence and talent. It rewards hope, self-regard, and blind persistence.

Idiocracy, here we come. Really, when you consider the success that game shows like Deal Or No Deal and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire have enjoyed recently, it’s a tribute to ABC that they’ve kept Jeopardy on the air for so long without dumbing it down.


While the story about Toronto Transit Commission chair Adam Giambrone accepting a challenge to let the public make suggestions for the TTC website revamp was in all the Toronto blogs last week, it’s finally seeped into the mainstream media. This story makes my inner geek all warm and fuzzy. Congratulations to Robert Ouellette of Reading Toronto for getting something done, and well done Adam Giambrone.


The Doha round of World Trade Organization talks may still have some life, though the clock (on President Bush’s “fast-track” authority, specifically) is ticking. Ultimately, this is a case where a lame-duck president could come in handy; if Bush were facing re-election in 2008 there’s absolutely no chance he’d cut $20 billion in farm subsidies.


The Canadiens are now mired in what can only be called a slump. They’ve lost 3 straight, partly because of the flu bug that’s floored half the team, and partly because New Jersey just has their number. The Habs need to locate their scoring touch, and soon, because the Senators and the Rangers are turning on the jets.


Last night we watched Everything Is Illuminated (imdb | rotten tomatoes), the movie adaptation of a book I read a few years back. I wondered how director Liev Schreiber would deal with the third, most fantastical storyline; it turns out he ignored it altogether. It was the right choice, if also the boring one; there was no good way to put that on the screen and still hold the other storyline(s) together, and yet that storyline was the only thing that made the book stand out from the rest of the story which had been told hundreds of times before. What remained in the film was good, but not new.
[tags]deal or no deal, 1 vs 100, who wants to be a millionaire, jeopardy, ttc, adam giambrone, robert ouellette, wto, doha round, canadiens, everything is illuminated[/tags]

You know what rule?

The platinum lounges at the Air Canada Centre. That’s what rule.

[UPDATE] We just got back from the game where the Raptors held on (barely) to beat the Wizards. We got the tickets through a charity auction at Nellie’s office, and they might have ruined our basketball-going future. I don’t know if I can go back to regular seats after this: a platinum lounge — a room just for six of us, with a TV, free food, free drinks, free ice cream, comfy chairs, etc. — and seats just a few rows behind the Wizards’ bench. The lounge’s concierge looked after us, even coming out to our seats to see if we needed anything.

If this is how the other half lives, I wanna be the other half.

[tags]air canada centre, platinum lounge[/tags]

"That's called a hangover, Amigo."

Busy day yesterday. We went downtown to see a movie, heading first to Cora’s for brunch, but the lineup was halfway to Hamilton so we settled for Milestone’s instead. While I normally despise that place, there were no Bellini-sucking wankers at 11 AM. Anyway, it served it’s purpose: fast, and close to the theatre.

We were there to see Children Of Men (imdb | rotten tomatoes) at the Paramount. It was as good as the 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes suggests: interesting, compelling, action-packed, terrifying, cautionary, visually stunning, well-acted, and a little too familiar to feel entirely like fiction. Highly, highly recommended. When I re-do my best-of-2006 list in a month or so Children Of Men will be on it.


Last night CBGB has us over for what they called the veggie fiesta. Basically, they cooked us an amazing meal: we started with the smoked cheddar and Roquefort cheese we brought along from Pusateri’s (as well as some Prosecco), then had asparagus wrapped in a phyllo pastry, followed by a salad with green mango & chilies (with a very nice white), a red curry for the main (with Nellie’s favourite: a Tedeschi Amarone) and an amazing strawberry/rhubarb pie topped with ice cream (with dessert wine). It was a better meal than I’ve had in a lot of restaurants. If I keep eating like that I’ll forget that I ever ate meat.


OK…have to go shake Nellie out of bed and get ready for the Raptors game this afternoon.
[tags]cora’s, milestone’s, children of men, pusateri’s, strawberry rhubarb pie[/tags]